Most summer basketball camps across the country keep the curriculum basic and work on the fundamentals of basketball. For young players, attending a general basketball camp--say, one at a university--is a perfect way to keep the skills sharp and keep basketball fun during the offseason.
But for players serious about taking their game to another level, a specialty basketball camp may be your best bet.
A few camps have popped up across the country that emphasize skill development. The Point Guard College, while not exclusively for point guards, teaches point guard-related skills to all players. The Philly Point Guard Camp, also for all players, has a similar outlook: to help those who are dedicated to becoming a great basketball player.
"We're a little bit more serious about basketball," said Mark Perner, the director of the Philly Point Guard Camp, "and it works."
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"We're a teaching camp," said Bill McClintock, director of the Tall Women camp. "We don't play any games. No scrimmages. We don't run up and down the court and throw the ball all over the place."
Instead, the Pete Newell camps teach post players to read defenses, create counter moves, and perfect post moves. The camp stresses proper footwork in the wing, in the post, at the elbow, with the back to the basket and facing the basket.
"We teach 50 of these moves, and we give the kids a DVD of the moves so they can look at the video," McClintock said. "Reps are what makes basketball a game of habit. You read and react. That's different from most of these camps and tournaments you go to."
There's seemingly a basketball camp out there for almost every aspect of the game. Advantage Basketball Camps, for example, offers a variety of specialty camps, including sessions in Kenmore, Wash., for ball-handling, post moves, post shooting, advanced shooting and more. Advantage also offers camps that work on both ball-handling and shooting all over the United States.
Specialty summer basketball camps opens up the debate on how an advanced basketball player should spend the summer months.
Many teenage basketball players hit the road in summer basketball tournaments, sometimes in front of college coaches. Playing games isn't a bad thing. Playing in front of recruiters is a great thing.
But if you're interested in really tying the shoelaces tight and working specifically on improving yourself--with long-term results in mind--a specialty camp may be the best way to learn great basketball skills in the summer months.
"Our philosophy is, you can go play ball the other 51 weeks of the year," Perner said. "If you're with us, you're going to learn as much as you possibly can."